How can you tell if you’re just feeling sad or if you’re suffering from depression? Both can share similar symptoms, but clinical depression is a much more serious mood state that surpasses feeling sad. Depression is a type of mental illness that affects many areas including emotions, thoughts, physical health, mood and behavior. When depression escalates, it can cause suicidal thoughts. It can also impact daily actions such as eating and sleeping.
Depression lasts through one’s entire life, although there are sometimes periods of happiness and wellness. In the U.S. every year, 25 million Americans, 5-8 percent of adults, are affected by depression. Out of the 25 million suffering from depression, only half will go through treatment, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Depression is much more prominent in women than men. Twice as many women suffer from the condition than men. About 20-25 percent of women experience depression in comparison to 10 percent of men.
Mental health specialists can sometimes have difficulty diagnosing depression in a patient when they are just going through a tough stage in life or are experiencing mild symptoms. Emotions of sadness and disinterest are normal for individuals to experience in life.
The 24th annual Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is October 5-11, 2014. MIAW was first established by the U.S. Congress in 1990 to help recognize the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s (NAMI) efforts to raise awareness for mental health and illnesses. Forest Laboratories, LLC, a subsidiary of Actavis plc, is serving as the 2014 official National Sponsor of MIAW.
To learn more about the differences between depression and simply feeling down, tune into this week’s HER Radio segment featuring Dr. Mary Mandell, a psychiatrist on the NAMI North Carolina board. Click here to listen to the segment.